TIFF '12 Preview: Saturday the 8th

I'll eventually be compiling these into one big omnibus preview piece for Ain't It Cool News, but in the meantime here's the day-by-day preview of the hell that is trying to narrow a list of 101 picks into a workable, non-life-threatening 11-day schedule. Yes, I said 101 picks... this year's TIFF program is flat out ridiculous. I've never had a more laughably named 'short list'.

Thursday Sept 6th preview
Friday Sept 7th preview

Saturday Sept 8th:
  • Japanese box office champ Thermae Romae is about a Roman architect who becomes a hit after accidentally time-slipping back and forth to modern Japan and adopting elements of their public bathhouse culture for his own time period.
  • Genndy Tartakovsky, the animation genius behind the Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack, the Clone Wars and Dexter's Laboratory finally directs a feature, the 3D CGI romp Hotel Transylvania.
  • Much Ado About Nothing... sigh. Leave it to Joss Whedon to crank out a Shakespeare adaption with all his friends in 12 days while in the middle of shooting a massive Hollywood blockbuster.
  • The long, sad story of the West Memphis Three gets one more chapter, although not from Berlinger and Sinofsky, with West of Memphis.
  • There's a very The Man Who Was Thursday vibe about spy thriller The Color of the Chameleon, from first-time Bulgarian director Emil Christov, that has me intrigued.
  • The Year of Big Screen Snow White Adaptations (which I'm sure is how 2012 will be immortalized by historians) wouldn't be complete without a silent art-house riff, Blancanieves, in which Snow becomes a bullfighter. Because why the hell not.
  • Video director Ramaa Mosley debuts with the Twilight Zone-ish The Brass Teapot starring Juno Temple.
  • Viggo Mortensen plays twins with a dark past in the Argentinian thriller Everybody Has a Plan.
  • The Wachowskis team with Tom Tykwer to film the unfilmable, Fountain-esque Cloud Atlas (Tykwer didn't do too badly with the almost-as-unfilmable Perfume, so I have hope this'll be more than just a spectacle).
  • [REC] writer Luiso Berdejo co-writes Painless, about a surgeon with a mysterious past and an orphanage during the Spanish Civil War where bizarre experiments were conducted on bizarre children.
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower is Emma Watson's first big post-Potter chance to show she's worth paying attention to. Oh, and it's also an adaption of a beloved teen novel blah blah blah. We all know why you're really seeing it. You're fooling no one.
  • David O. Russell, who has yet to make a bad film in his career, returns to more idiosyncratic, Flirting With Disaster/I Heart Huckabees-ish territory with Silver Livings Playbook.
  • Argentinian doc filmmaker Jose Luis Garcia tries to finish a film he started over twenty years ago, tracking down a North Korean activist who miraculously walked through the DMZ to South Korea in The Girl From the South.
  • Fin looks like a post-apocalyptic thriller crossed with the Big Chill, from a first-time Spanish director. That's fest-speak for "total wild card that could be anything from great to awful".
  • Olivier Assayas does a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age film set in the wake of the May 1968 Paris protests, Something In the Air.
  • Julien Temple parades you through his version of the last 100 years of history along the banks of the Thames in London - The Modern Babylon.
  • The Act of Killing literally made me sit up and shout "Holy shit!" to an empty room when I read the synopsis. Former members of Indonesian death squads (people who have never been brought to justice and see themselves as the heroes of their own stories, since after all their side won) re-enact their crimes as though they were movie scenes, complete with special effects, sets, costumes and extras to gun down. Errol Morris and Werner Herzog apparently had the same reaction I did, since they signed on as executive producers after seeing early footage.
  • Yellow sees Nick Cassavettes possibly remembering who his father was and ditching his relentlessly middle-brow CV to do a pic about a woman who hallucinates her way through life.
  • Leave it to Graham Chapman, Monty Python's most subversive member, to narrate his own animated pseudo-biodoc, A Liar's Autobiography, decades after his death.
  • The Secret Disco Revolution continues a long, proud Canadian mock docs that began with the criminally-underseen The Canadian Conspiracy.
  • Tai Chi 0 is a cheeky, steampunk-and-anime-infused historical martial arts flick with fight choreography from Sammo Hung. That, folks, is what you call "must fucking see".
  • Palme d'Or winner Amour sees Michael Haneke trying to make something that isn't agonizingly misanthropic for once, as it portrays an old man watching his wife slowly fade away after suffering a stroke. On second thought, that could easily end up being just as misanthropic as the rest of his filmography...
  • Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow (Gwynnie-cakes to no one but me) headline Thanks For Sharing, a comedy about sex addiction from Kids Are Alright director Stuart Blemberg
  • And finally, No One Lives sees Versus director Ryuhei Kitamura pitting kidnappers against backwoods clans against who knows what else at Midnight, with an appropriately high body count.
  • Also, repeat screenings of Reincarnated, Far Out Isn't Far Enough, Argo, The Place Beyond the Pines, The We and the I, Dredd 3D, Three Kids, What Maisie Knew, Imogene, The Master, Seven Psychopaths, Me and You, Anna Karenina, Frances Ha and Wasteland.

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